Luba: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen
Luba: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen

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Annotation: A biography of the Jewish heroine, Luba Tryszynska, who saved the lives of more than fifty Jewish children in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the winter of 1944/45.
Catalog Number: #184254
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Ten Speed Press
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition Date: c2003
Illustrator: Marshall, Ann E.,
Pages: 48
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 1-582-46098-1 Perma-Bound: 0-605-33433-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-582-46098-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-33433-5
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2003000543
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Just when it seems a nonfiction Holocaust book can't tell us anything new, along comes a story like this one, an inspiring, upbeat, true rescue account that is essential to the history. In the last few months of the war, Luba Trysznka, a young Polish Jewish woman, saved more than 50 Dutch Jewish children who had been abandoned in a snowy field behind her barracks in Bergen-Belsen. She sheltered the children, scavenged and stole for them, and cajoled food scraps, medicine, and wood to keep the children alive. McCann's third-person account is based on interviews with Luba, who now lives in the U.S., and Marshall's handsome accompanying art, in oil paint and collage, is radiant. There are also occasional photos, including one of the survivors 50 years later when their brave rescuer was honored. There are no guards or emaciated corpses here, and children will need the useful introduction and afterword to fill in the facts about the millions who did not survive--among them, Dutch teen Anne Frank, who died of typhus right at Bergen-Belsen.
Horn Book
During the Holocaust, Luba Tryszynska, herself a prisoner, hid, fed, and ultimately saved the lives of more than fifty Jewish children in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The dark oil and collage illustrations help tell the the difficult but triumphant story. An epilogue relates what happened after liberation and the details of a 1995 reunion between Luba and her "children." Bib.
Kirkus Reviews
McCann conveys the remarkable heroism of Tryszynska-Frederick, a young Jewish nurse imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camp. Luba's emotional strength, bravery, and determination in the winter of 1944 saved 54 abandoned, starving, and cold Dutch children from their impending death, as she hid them in her barracks for the duration of the war and used her ingenuity and a lot of luck to beg, borrow, and steal food. McCann recounts in lucid narrative prose, with the inclusion of some dialogue, the events and hushed drama as related to her by the real Luba. Well-crafted, this includes a brief introduction and post-script to the Nazi concentration camps and WWII, an epilogue depicting Luba's official Amsterdam recognition with photographs from the liberation of the camp and a 1995 reunion, and a thorough bibliography of books, articles, film, Web sites, personal letters, and interviews. Realistic oil paintings with collage reflect the darkness of the period and the terrifyingly dangerous environment amid the loving concern within the concealed group. One of the beautiful, positive stories that emerged from that awful time, to be remembered and passed on to young and old alike. (author's note, including children's names) (Picture book. 7-12)
Publishers Weekly

A Holocaust heroine emerges in Tryszynska-Frederick's account of being a prisoner at Bergen-Belsen, which McCann judiciously relays in the third person. A Polish Jew, Luba had endured two years in Auschwitz, where her infant son had been taken from her upon arrival; believing that Luba was a nurse, the Nazis sent her to Bergen-Belsen in the winter of 1944 to look after their wounded. She hears the sounds of crying on her first night there, and discovers 54 Dutch babies and children in a field, left to freeze to death. Determined to save them, she obtains food and clothing for them and, just as amazingly, persuades innumerable adults to keep their presence a secret. When the British liberated the camp, 52 of the children were still alive.

McCann's presentation emphasizes the miraculousness of the children's survival as opposed to the notorious conditions of the camp. Marshall, a debut artist, offers oil and collage illustrations that show what appears to be a carefully crafted view of Bergen-Belsen: no immediate acts of brutality are depicted, and other hardships are downplayed. More of a context may be needed for the message to resound in its fullness, but this is a welcome story of hope. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)

School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Tryszynska-Frederick discovered a number of abandoned children among her fellow prisoners in Bergen-Belsen. Through her own creativity and strength of will, she managed to keep them fed and safe until the liberation of the camp. Although this is certainly a story that is both important and inspirational, the presentation is lacking. The writing is choppy and lacks transitions at times, and it is often unclear how Luba managed to do what she did. The horror of the camp is significantly downplayed in the text, and the oil-and-collage illustrations, while quite well done, do not reflect the reality of the conditions the people were facing. The children often look entirely too clean, well dressed, and healthy. The audience for the book is unclear. While the writing is simple and accessible for primary-grade children, the subject matter and the front and back matter, which gives readers a context for the story, seem intended for older students. While the basic facts are accurate, the heavy use of dialogue blurs the line between fact and fiction, making the book a problematic piece for most collections. Religious libraries with large collections of Holocaust literature might want to add it because of the important story it tells, but most others can pass.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 3,630
Reading Level: 4.8
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.8 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 73099 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.3 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q36543
Lexile: AD750L
Luba lay in her bunk with her eyes closed. Outside, the night was cold and moonless, yet inside, the drafty prison barracks weren’t much warmer. It was Luba’s first night in this strange, new camp. She had no home, no family, and questions plagued her sleep: Why am I still alive? Why was I spared?

Half dreaming, she thought she heard her son Isaac calling her, “Mama! Mama!” But she knew Isaac wasn’t there.

Luba sat up. “Do you hear that?” she whispered to Hermina, who shared her bunk. “Children crying.”

“Only your first night and already you are hearing things?” Hermina rolled her eyes. “You are just dreaming. Go to sleep. The Nazis don’t like crazy people, you know.”

Luba tried to sleep, but the voices returned, “Mama! Mama!”

Who is crying? she wondered. Luba wrapped a thin blanket around her shoulders and went out into the frozen night.

Outside, she could barely see the snow-covered ground, but the cries were clearer. They led her behind the barracks, to an empty field. That’s where she found them: fifty-four children huddled together like lost ducklings.

Some were just babies tucked into pillowcases.

Why am I still alive? Why was I spared?

One night in 1944, Luba Tryszynska’s questions were answered when she found fifty-four children abandoned behind the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. Luba knew if the Nazis caught her she could be executed.

But they are someone’s children. And they are hungry.

Despite the mortal dangers, Luba and the women of her barracks cared for these orphans thro-ugh a winter of disease, starvation, and war.

Here is the true story of an everyday hero and the children who gave her a reason to live.

My name is Luba Tryszynska-Frederick and this is my story. I never thought of myself as a particularly brave person, certainly not a hero. But I found that inside every human being there is a hero waiting to emerge. I never could have done what I did without the help of many heroes. This story is for them, and for the children. --Luba Tryszynska-Frederick

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